According to a recent article on Marketwatch.com, about half of the jobs in America that pay over $57,000 per year require some computer coding knowledge or skill. Coders write the instructions that tell computers what to do. Employers increasingly want people to have at least some understanding of coding so they can work with other departments. There is a big push to get kids engaged in coding at an early age for a good reason. In the future, practically everything will be connected to a computer. If you have children and grandchildren, make sure that they take advantage of every IT learning opportunity they can.
By 2020, we will need a million more people who are trained in programming and coding to fill the jobs that the IT industry is creating. If you want a career change, there are a lot of opportunities out there, and more are on the way. A good place to start is Central Georgia Technological College at www.centralgatech.edu. Click on “About Us,” then scroll down to “Gainful Employment.” This web page lists all of their programs, and if you click on one, the next page will tell you how much the program costs, and how long it will take you to complete it. I would also suggest you meet with a career counselor to get advice on what jobs are in the highest demand, and what programs are available to help pay for tuition.
Employers are increasingly getting involved in IT education, as many are not getting enough applicants for the jobs they are trying to fill, or the applicants don’t have the right education and experience. In Atlanta, a school called the Iron Yard (www.theironyard.com/locations/atlanta.html) is working with local employers to train individuals with specific programming and coding skills so they can fill local positions. The program is intense, lasting only 90 days, and graduates are placed in local IT jobs. If you’re unsure whether you are interested in these programs, they have free classes you can sign up to attend to see if it’s something you’re really interested in.
Another program I just heard about is Udacity, www.udacity.com, and they are offering “nanodegrees” for as little as $1,000. They are completely online, and you pay a monthly subscription fee of $200 to take as many classes as you want. If you graduate within 12 months, you get 50 percent of your tuition back, and if you pay for Nanodegree plus, which costs $299 a month, they guarantee you’ll have a job six months after graduation or your tuition is refunded.
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My last suggestion is probably most appropriate for someone who already has some IT knowledge, and it is www.codeacademy.com. This site is completely free and starts out with very basic courses. They currently have 25 million people using their site to learn coding. If you visit their website, you can see testimonials from people who have used this site to make a career change, or start a business. Share this information with friends and family who may be looking for a change.
Sherri Goss is vice president of Rosenberg Financial Group Inc., with offices in Macon and Warner Robins. You can reach her by calling 922-8100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.